At 10-year mark, Google's glossy facade shows cracks

With the fast growth and mega-success of a company comes a down side

Google's transformation from hip startup to corporate giant over the past decade has resulted in some significant cultural changes, and the cracks are starting to appear.

Google's transformation from hip startup to corporate giant over the past decade has resulted in some significant cultural changes, and the cracks are starting to appear.

Now that Google has reached its 10-year-mark, the company is facing the cultural complexities and challenges that come with the transition from hip startup to corporate giant.

In the early days of Google, the company was able to take Silicon Valley by storm because it was a tiny company with a big idea. Unencumbered by the corporate bureaucracy of larger companies like Microsoft, Google was able to build grassroots support around its search engine and online advertising business model to grow quickly and nimbly into the multibillion-dollar company it is today.


As Google turns 10, enterprise success in question

However, with that kind of fast growth and mega-success comes a down side. The excitement of Google's game-changing technology and the collegiate culture that the company founders fostered at corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California, made the company for many years the hot place to work. But in the past year, the image of the Silicon Valley nirvana Google has created has begun to show some cracks, with key members of the brain trust leaving for other companies and stories of employee dissatisfaction with the corporate culture beginning to travel up and down the valley.

As it turns 10, one of Google's main challenges is to continue to foster technology innovation and draw the caliber of talent that startups can attract even as the company, in both size and culture, begins to look more like a Microsoft or an IBM -- behemoths over which Google once had an edge because it was different.

"Gravity affects all organizations and will inevitably affect Google," said Charles O'Reilly, Frank E. Buck professor of management at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. "The question is whether they will deal with this in a productive way, or do something foolish."

A little more than a year ago, Google began to experience the brain drain that comes when a startup becomes a corporation and many of the early intelligentsia cash out and go on to bigger and better things -- or leave to start their own ventures.

Key Googlers such as former Chief Information Officer Doug Merrill and former Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations Sheryl Sandberg left the company in the last year -- the latter for Facebook, where other key Google employees also defected.

Then there was the child-care fiasco that made Google's executives question the sense of entitlement the company had created among employees, and how long they could sustain it. At a TGIF (thank God it's Friday) meeting -- a weekly forum where Google's leaders meet with employees in a question-and-answer session to address any concerns or thoughts they have about the company -- employees expressed concern that the costs of company-provided child care were going to nearly double. In response, according to published reports, Google co-founder and co-President Sergey Brin bristled about employees feeling a little too entitled to perks like bottled water and candy, which the company gives out for free.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?